Friday, February 26, 2010

Locked Out

Most everyone who knows me has heard this story but I wanted to get it down on paper. I thought I did this once before but I can't find it. Not that it isn't seared into my memory forever!

It was a completely forgetable Sunday evening - the week between Christmas and New Years. I was 8 months pregnant with our second child. We lived on ten acres, smack dab in the middle of nowhere. My 17 month old has been in bed for a few hours and I was waiting on Robbie to get home from work. He was a police officer working the second shift. I waddled to the kitchen for a snack. When I opened the fridge I noticed the pack of ground beef I'd thawed and never used. I knew I needed to do something with it soon so I decided to make some chili for Robbie so he'd have a snack when he got off work in an hour or so. I started to cook it according to a recipe I had and turned the burner up so it would begin to boil. About this time I realized it was 10pm and the new puppy we had gotten earlier in the week needed to be taken outside. I was trying to take her out at regular intervals. I was wearing a huge grey t-shirt/gown and slip-on Keds. When Daisy finished wandering around the yard we headed back inside. Except, we couldn't get in. My heart froze when I realized we were locked out. Locked out in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE! I desperately tried every door, every window, even lying on my back and reaching for the door knob through the cat door. Nothing worked. Panic set in, big time! On the next lot over, which was also ten acres, was a horse barn. I'd seen a travel trailer parked there earlier but had no idea if it was still there, or if someone might be in it. It was my only hope at this point. My baby was trapped inside with a boiling pot of chili on the stove! What if the fire alarms started to sound, terrifying him, and I was not there? What if the house actually caught fire? I started to run. Run, at 8 months pregnant, through the field to get to the horse barn. It was pitch black as soon as I got a few feet from my house. Suddenly, I was up-ended. Cartwheeling through the air, and then through wood shavings from the barn. The ground there was very uneven and the owners often dumped the old shavings in the low areas. Now I was lying in shavings and old hay and I smelled like horse poop. This is where I started to cry. But press on I must, so I struggled to my feet. Running again, as I spit out small pieces of wood and hay and probably some other stuff I don't want to think about. My luck was about to change. As I got closer to the barn I could see a tiny light. It was from the travel trailer. It appeared as someone might be IN the trailer! I started screaming. I can only imagine what I must have sounded like at this point. The door flew open and someone started screaming back. "Who's there? What do you want?", he asked. "Do you have a phone? I need a phone!!! I'm locked out and my house might be on fire!", I pant. He thrusts a cell phone into my hand and I dial 911. As soon as the dispatcher starts to speak I beg her to send Officer Goodson home ASAP. "EMERGENCY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" I hang up. I give the phone back and order the shadow in the trailer to get a hammer and follow me to my house. "A hammer!?" He clearly thinks I've lost it. Yes, as my breath is finally catching up, I need a hammer to break into my house, I am locked out. He is on his way to the barn now and turns on the light. He takes one look at me and screams, "LADY, you're PREGNANT!" "I KNOW! Now get a hammer!", I say. Then I start running again. He is chasing me, trying to get me to slow down. He is wearing boxer shorts and flip flops. When he gets to my porch I am laying flat on my back gasping for air. I point to the kitchen window and get out the words, "Break it!" He assures me that he can see the chili and it is not in danger of bursting into flames, but if it does, he will gladly smash the window.

About this time we hear an engine, getting quickly closer to us. Robbie is FLYING down our driveway. He gets out of his patrol car as white as a sheet. He finds his wife lying on the porch gasping for breath and a man in boxer shorts holding a hammer. I can only imagine the thoughts that must have gone through his mind at that moment. I can still barely speak but explain that we need his keys to the house. I think he was a bit upset to find that all the panic he has just been through is because I locked myself out. We go in and turn off the chili. Man with hammer disappears, I guess. Baby #2 is on an adrenaline high, bouncing from one side of my belly to the other. We assume he/she is okay. Then my husband, who has only said a few words since he arrived asks, "What is that all over you and what is that SMELL?"